When Rush, Canada's premier heavy metal rock'n'rollers, hauled through Regina just a few months ago, the band had just completed a rave tour of United States.
Now, on its way back into the States for a four month run, Rush again stopped in Regina Thursday evening to do another concert at the Trianon, Regina's potential answer to the fine English rock palladiums.
The problem is that which ever way Rush goes, Regina rock fans don't seem much interested. In light of August's record-breaking Bachman Turner Overdrive crowd in Regina. the disinterest is hard to account for, because when it comes to thundering heavy rock, Rush can blow BTO away.
The group opened for Nazareth on its recent cross-Canada tour, and gave the English headliner more than its share of problems, according to press reports. Everyone seems to know that Rush is happening except for local fans. For example, this week's Billboard magazine, the largest industry trade paper in the U.S. comments on Rush for the impressive inroads made into American markets by the group, and particularly the fact that Rush has broken in on albums and not by AM-radio play. It also announced the rush-release in the U.S. of the group's new album, Caress of Steel, which won't be available in Canada for quite some time to come.
On Thursday night, the band premiered a couple of cuts from he new album, before a modest crowd. It's obvious that Rush is beginning to stretch out. The featured number, Lakeside Park, was a much more progressive effort than we've come to expect from Rush. Full of complex, convoluted melody changes and rich, waterfall guitar, the song was beautiful in the extreame. No less hard-edged in many ways than before, it nevertheless had a subtle movement and balance the bellied the bruising strength of the song.
Rush is a very good band. Although, when off stage, the members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart are the rock'n'roll equivalent of the Three Stooges, they both believe in and like their music.
"We always enjoy our music," says Lifeson, "and, sure it's hard work but once we get on stage or into the studio, it always works for us." Few bands claim as much but the truth of Lifeson's statement is on Rush's albums and especially in their concerts in which the group hits high energy and performance levels that can hardly be exceeded in degree.
The concert Thursday night admittedly was better than the June show. It was better because the sound was better and with a band such as Rush, if sound isn't there, the show breaks down quickly at those kind of volume levels. Thursday night's concert was loud but the system was clean and bright. The concert also showed that the Trianon can be set up for perfect sound if the equipment and technical savvy are available. Rush did everything it possibly could to ensure a good concert and that's the way it turned out.
Cambridge, a Regina group was the warmup act. With the musicians still in their mid-teens, the band is everything that rock started out to be.